Thistles are coming into flower. Some we welcome, like this meadow thistle (and its tree bumblebee visitor). Some we’re less keen on.
Meadow thistles are found on Popehouse Moor, our Site of Special Scientific Interest at Wheatland Farm. These plants are soft to the touch, and almost woolly – not prickly like thistles generally. The bees love them and they are an important part of our culm wildflowers. So we were pleased to find meadow thistle spreading to Lower Newland Moor too (the turbine field) during yesterday’s botany survey.
Then there’s the marsh thistle, which can reach a couple of metres high. It’s everywhere, but is biennial, so doesn’t pose too much of a ‘gardening’ problem. Once again, the bees love nectaring on the flowers.
Creeping thistle though – that’s another matter. Yes, it’s still a rich nectar source but it spreads via runners. So that one we regularly have ‘pull out’ sessions for. A thick pair of gloves is usually sufficient, but you need wet ground to get the roots out. Looks like no excuses after the next few days’ weather.
This time last year: Orchids in full flower on Popehouse Moor
This time in 2017: Raising a glass of our own Wheatland Farm cider